Co-op shoppers value much more than just cheap food. We look for foods that are a great financial value and fit with our own personal values- like protecting the environment, supporting health and enriching our local food economy.
And oftentimes that means paying a higher price than we would on conventional products. But it also means we’re getting a better value.
The concept of value is foreign to many shoppers. Many of us were taught that price is the most important deciding factor about food, either by necessity or by thriftiness.
Value goes beyond just price and encompasses every aspect of the product. You could call value shopping more holistic than price comparison shopping. It requires looking much deeper than a price tag and into hidden costs and benefits.
But it’s hard for people to accept that the cheapest food is not always the best value. I’ve found that many people understand this concept better when talking about shoes.
That’s right. Plenty of us acknowledge that you get what you pay for when it comes to shoes, but abandon that philosophy when it comes to food. There are plenty of cheap shoes out there with thin soles and flimsy fabric, shoes that make your feet hurt and wear out in a month or two. Those shoes are cheap, but they are not a good value.
By paying a bit more for our shoes, we often gain value- comfort, style, performance, durability, etc. And it’s worth it!
Our food is even more complicated. Sustainable farmers spend extra time and money everyday when rotating crops, planting cover crops, forgoing growth hormones, purchasing organic feed and choosing reusable or recyclable packaging.
By investing a bit more in our food we can positively impact our own health, rebuild (rather than degrade) our environment, protect animal welfare, reduce waste, and strengthen our local economy. All this with some conscious, value-oriented shopping!
Our farmers and producers are investing in these noble causes already, and we share in that investment each time we purchase their products. That simple act shows that we understand- Food that supports our values IS a good value!